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Protein Warns Lupus Patients of Kidney Woes

Study: They have markedly higher levels of it in urine

WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A protein that provides early warning of kidney disease in people with the autoimmune disorder lupus has been identified by University of Florida scientists.

Lupus patients with kidney disease have markedly increased levels of this protein, called MCP1, in their urine. This means a simple urine test can be developed to let doctors check for the presence of the protein as an early indicator of kidney disease and take appropriate treatment measures.

"All we can do now is quote newly diagnosed lupus patients the statistics for the chance of kidney disease," study co-author Dr. Hanno B. Richards, co-director of the university's Lupus Clinic, said in a prepared statement.

"We can offer detailed genetic testing and assess what the likelihood of the disease might be. But with MCP1, we can screen for the levels in the urine and base our need for treatment on that," Richards said.

He and his colleagues found that kidney disease was about two to three times more likely to develop in lupus patients with particular genetic variants that produce MCP1, which directs immune system cells toward areas of inflammation.

Kidney disease affects about half of the 1.5 million Americans who have lupus.

The study appears in the current issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism.

More information

Learn more at the Lupus Foundation of America.

SOURCE: University of Florida, news release, June 2004
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